Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS) students may no longer begin their year with a mix of virtual and in-person learning.
During its June 21 meeting, the county’s school board reviewed and postponed its vote on an amended return to learning plan, presented by Superintendent Dr. Scott Kizner, in which most students would spend the majority of fall participating in virtual learning.
This is a stark contrast to Stafford’s previously approved plan, but very similar to Prince William County’s newly adopted plan to begin the school year virtually. The original hybrid plan in Stafford, approved last week, had students beginning the year with hybrid in-person and virtual learning.
If the division were to keep its hybrid plan, it would cost them $4.9 million in “additional unfunded costs.” Going completely virtual, on the other hand, would cost them $3.5 million in the same costs, according to Kizner’s return to learning plan.
Under the yet to be approved plan, each grade level would start and end virtual learning at different times.
Students in preschool would not have an instruction model implemented until Sept. 8.
“During the weeks of Aug. 24 and 31, staff will collaborate among themselves and with parents to discuss instructional delivery model options appropriate for preschool children,” said Kizner in his return to learning presentation.
The options for instruction would include in-person in-school, home visits, virtual instruction, and home learning packages. Those who wish to do completely virtual under any in-person plans, however, will be allowed to do so.
“Medical or parental exemption requests for 100% virtual will be honored for students,” stated Kizner’s return to learning presentation.
Students in elementary schools would receive completely virtual instruction from Aug. 31 to Oct. 1, with exceptions for certain student groups with additional needs such as special education, English-language learners, students with no internet connectivity, and more.
The school division would assess on Sept. 21 if students should remain completely virtual or transition into a hybrid model.
“Health and academic data analysis will occur on Sept. 21 to determine if hybrid model/100% remote option should begin on Oct. 6,” stated Kizner’s return to learning presentation.
On Sept. 24, Kizner would then announce his decision for virtual or hybrid learning for the remainder of the school year for elementary school students.
Under the proposed amendment, students in middle and high schools would participate in completely virtual learning from Aug. 31 to Nov. 5, with exceptions for certain groups of students with additional needs such as special education, English-language learners, students with no internet connectivity, and more.
The school division would assess on Oct. 26 if students should remain completely virtual or transition into a hybrid model.
On Oct. 28, Kizner would then announce his decision for virtual or hybrid learning for the remainder of the school year for middle and high school students.
This amended plan would fulfill the school division’s parent’s desires for their student’s instruction to a lesser extent than the previously approved completely hybrid plan. According to a parent survey conducted by SCPS, 65% of parents want “as much in-person instruction as possible,” something they would get less of within the proposed plan due to students spending the majority of fall participating in virtual learning.
According to a staff survey conducted, 36% of staff members (1,210 out of 3,347) support “virtual instruction only for all students, with certain exceptions based on student needs, until the second semester.”
The school board is set to vote on the amended plan during its upcoming special meeting on July 28. More information on the school division’s reopening plans can be found here.